French Prime Minister Macron has sharply criticized Turkey and called for respect for the EU. Turkish head of state Erdogan had previously announced a boycott of France.

French President Emmanuel Macron has accused Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan of a “belligerent” attitude towards NATO partners. In an interview with Arab television broadcaster Al-Jazeera on Saturday, Macron said he hoped things would “calm down”. For this, the Turkish president must respect France and the European Union and their values, Macron said. In addition, Erdogan may “not tell lies or insult”.

“Turkey has a bellicose attitude towards its NATO allies,” Macron said, criticizing Ankara’s actions in Syria, Libya and the Mediterranean.

Erdogan: Macron must “investigate state of mind”

Erdogan last week called for a boycott of French products. He also advised his French counterpart to have his “state of mind” examined.

Macron announced tighter controls on mosques and other Muslim institutions after the alleged Islamically motivated murder of history teacher Samuel Paty near Paris two weeks ago. In response to Erdogan’s verbal attack, France called its ambassador from Ankara to Paris for consultations.

However, according to French Foreign Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian, the diplomat will return to Turkey on Sunday. The reason was the positive Turkish response to the allegedly Islam-motivated attack in Nice with three deaths – Ankara had condemned the attack. This reaction was “different, clear, unmistakable”, Le Drian told the TV channel RTL.

Turkey is said to have instrumentalized the attack on teachers

However, after the murder of Paty, Turkey “made the conscious decision” to “instrumentalize” the attack. In addition, Ankara started a “hateful and insulting campaign against us”.

Le Drian went on to say that the Turkish side had yet to explain their behavior. “With a request for clarification and explanation, we have asked our ambassador to return to Ankara tomorrow,” said the minister.

Relationship between NATO partners who have been in crisis for months

Relations between NATO partners have been tense for months. One reason is the heated dispute over the exploitation of gas resources in the Eastern Mediterranean. EU members Greece, Cyprus and Turkey lay claim to the affected sea areas. Ankara repeatedly provoked neighboring countries in the dispute. Macron then issued stark warnings to Erdogan.

But the fact that Turkey was involved in the conflicts in Libya, Syria and Nagorno-Karabakh also led to tensions. Macron accused Ankara of relocating jihadist fighters from Syria to Azerbaijan. In this regard, the French head of state spoke of a “red line” that Ankara had crossed. Erdogan rejected the allegation.

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